Mystery solved: Apple's new product is iTablet (updated)

Mystery solved: Apple's new product is iTablet (updated)

Summary: Editor's Note: This was originally posted in July 2008, 18 months ago. For my latest posts on the Apple tablet click on the tablet category.

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Editor's Note: This was originally posted in July 2008, 18 months ago. For my latest posts on the Apple tablet click on the tablet category. All see ZDNet's latest tablet computing coverage. Some recent tablet posts:

Mystery solved: AppleÂ’s new product is iTablet

Previously I speculated about the mysterious “product transition” that Apple's Peter Oppenheimer (CFO) mentioned no less than seven times in the Q3 2008 Earnings conference call with analysts. Some of his quotes from the call:

  • We are working to develop new products that contains technologies that our competition will not be able to match. I cannot discuss these new products, but we are very confident in our product pipeline.

  • Apple believes that the software is the key ingredient. We believe that we are many years ahead of the competition and we welcome any and all competition as long as they do not step on our Intellectual Property.

  • We plan to deliver state-of-the-art products that I cannot discuss today and are very excited about the products in our pipeline.

I had an epiphany today that Apple's mysterious new product is going to be the iTablet. It's obviously not just a MacBook revision that he's talking about, it "contains technologies that our competition will not be able to match" and "software is the key ingredient."

This, to me, means that Apple is going to leverage the more than 100 patents (like MultiTouch) that they've filed for iPhone in a larger screen device that borrows heavily from iPhone. Think of a larger, media playing, eBook reading iTablet with 3G, GPS, and Bluetooth. Now think of it in 6, 8 and 10-inch screen sizes. This is when things get interesting.

A source told me first hand back in May that the Apple tablet is real and that it would be coming this fall. According to my source said tablet could arrive in the September or October, it will run the full Mac OS X, have a slot loading SuperDrive, an “iPhone-type” GPS chip and an Intel Core Duo processor – presumably Intel’s Atom.

If I was a student getting ready to purchase a notebook computer to take to school, I'd have to think long and hard about picking up an iTablet instead. An Apple tablet, preferably around 8-inch diagonal, 10-inch max, would be a Kindle-killer and the ultimate eBook reader. Its color display and slot-loading SuperDrive would also make the tablet a killer movie and music platform too – and we know how much Apple is invested in movies and music, right?

I know that tablets and UMPCs haven't traditionally sold well, but those were Windows tablets. Apple tends to do things a little different and has built a business by adding a ton of sizzle to an otherwise pedestrian product. I also know that a tablet can't replace a hardware QWERTY keyboard for long-form writing, but Apple could easily address this with a simple USB port and/or a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and a little kick-stand that turns the tablet into a monitor. Apple could also resurrect their InkWell handwriting recognition or you could run voice recognition software like MacSpeech’s Dictate.

So, that's it. It's a tablet.

Now let's all criticize it. Begin...

(Top photo: SpyMac via The Apple Collection)

Update: Although Glenn Derene's "MacBook plus" concept (video) is more of a convertible than a slate, if it looks like this, I'm buying.

Mystery solved: AppleÂ’s new product is iTablet (updated)

More Apple Tablet Coverage:

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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93 comments
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  • I WANT ONE!!

    Dang, I'd buy it in a heart beat. I already have an iPod Touch (love it) and getting ready to buy an iPhone.
    slimmac1
    • Why would you buy a touch

      if you would be getting an iPhone? <br><br>
      You either have a nice bank account.....or still live with Mom. :)
      xuniL_z
      • RE: Why would you buy a touch

        Bought the Touch last year. Now I'm just waiting for my 2-year AT&T cellphone commitment to end.

        Duh..
        slimmac1
  • RE: Mystery solved: Apple's new product is iTablet

    May sound very nice, but unfortunately, like all Apple things, it will probably cost in excess of $2k. For some of us, that's just out of the question.
    BR999
    • Well they did mention lower margins did they not?

      Just wait and see....

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • So that means . . .

        It's [i]only[/i] going to be $1500??? Still to rich for my wallet.

        Apparently, despite all the talk, This will only be for the elite (again) . . .
        JLHenry
        • Not sure what the price will be...nor are you.

          So why all the speculation and guess work that means in
          effect nothing.

          I suspect that Apple is getting better prices due to volume
          and that many of the components of such a machine will
          be the same they use in the iMacs and or Laptops due to
          it's size. Perhaps even components from the iPhone and
          or IPods. Now add that and the claim about lower margins
          and I think this is a product going for the
          consumer/entertainment market Heck we don't even know
          if this is just another guess work claim and it won't be
          anything like this. In the end I don't know that it will cost
          and my basic point is nor do you...:P

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
    • Cost

      Things below $2K at the Apple store:
      All MacBooks
      All MacMinis
      All Cinema Displays (including 30")
      MacBook Air (except highest specd one)
      All iMacs (except highest specd one)
      All iPods/phone
      All Apple peripherals (AppleTV, routers, etc etc)

      Things over $2K at the Apple store:
      Highest-specd iMac only
      Highest-specd MacBook Air only
      MacPros & MacBook Pros
      xServe lines


      If it's too expensive, continue saving a bit more for a bit longer. It's worth it in the end. :)
      fox.kenji
  • Hopefully, this will take tablets somewhere

    I like the idea of Tablet PCs, but not any of the ones offered for sale. If Apple can shake this market up some, so much the better.

    It needs to be very durable. Ideally, Bluetooth only (no physical ports), and bullet proof screen.
    TheTruthisOutThere@...
  • RE: Mystery solved: Apple's new product is iTablet

    "If I was a student..., I???d have to think long and hard about picking up an iTablet instead" No, not really, if you were a student you'd probably be broke as hell and would more likely want to buy a real notebook for half price of what this thing is going to cost (my guess 1100).
    ZenMasta
    • Oh, maaaaan!!!

      Would someone please pass a napkin? I'm drooling!
      Userama
      • RE: Oh, maaaaan!!

        One iNapkin coming right up!
        slimmac1
      • wow

        have you ever even been on a date? ;)
        xuniL_z
        • RE: wow

          If you're playing follow-the-leader, you missed one of my other responses....

          I'd hate for you miss out on another jab. ;)
          slimmac1
  • RE: Mystery solved: Apple's new product is iTablet

    oops typo, I meant 2100, but I agree with BR999 probably nailed it.
    ZenMasta
  • Tablet = bad idea, unless it's cheap

    Tablets won't sell well, because I doubt Apple will sell them
    cheaply enough, so it will be a drain on Apple. Maybe the
    landscape will change in 5 yrs, but not now, and I don't think
    Apple can change it with any product, unless they keep their
    price down. No one wants a giant, expensive product with
    no keyboard. The market is just too small, when you
    consider what Apple will probably charge for it (I bet their
    tablet would be really nice...but not inexpensive).
    jayk_z
    • Some never learn...

      How many times has a product been a flop in PC land, but as soon as Apple touches it the genre turns to gold? And everyone else starts having to play catchup?
      BitTwiddler
      • Yea, the iPod only happened once and it works with PC's

        The only other Apple success was the iPhone and cell phones were doing very well without Apple. Apple can't turn anything into gold, look at their laptop and desktop sales.

        Can we say Newton?

        I smell a flop...

        Asus and Gigabyte are ahead of Apple in this market.
        T1Oracle
        • Dude... Newton?

          That was the old apple - the newton was developed and released in what feels like an eon ago as far as tech is concerned. Apple has come a long way since then - I'm not saying that everything that they have released turns to gold - but still, Apples to Apples man. (no pun intended... ok it was..)

          Apples does tend to turn tired old ideas into something far more innovative and desirable - and their sales are not dismal, not even notebook and desktop sales.

          They innovate and they create new tech that really looks and works well - and a lot of that stems from their proprietary model, as much as some people hate to admit.
          /A\V/
        • The iPod didn't work with PCs in the beginning

          It works now because Windows users--lots of them--
          wanted iPods too.
          Laraine Anne Barker